Spotsylvania County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Spotsylvania County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Spotsylvania County.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Spotsylvania County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Arraignments in Spotsylvania County
During an arraignment in Spotsylvania County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Spotsylvania County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Spotsylvania County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Spotsylvania County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
I need help for my Spotsylvania County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Spotsylvania County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Spotsylvania County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Mandatory Appearances in Spotsylvania County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Spotsylvania County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Spotsylvania County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Spotsylvania County will take place at the Spotsylvania County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Spotsylvania County Criminal Court Locations.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Prosecutor in Spotsylvania County
In Spotsylvania County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Spotsylvania County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Virginia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Spotsylvania County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
In a jury trial in Spotsylvania County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Spotsylvania County Criminal Court Locations
Spotsylvania County Circuit Court – 15th Judicial Circuit
Address: 9107 Judicial Center Lane, PO Box 96, Spotsylvania VA 22553
Phone: 540-507-7600 Fax: 540-582-2169
Spotsylvania County General District Court – 15th Judicial District
Address: 9113 Courthouse Rd, PO Box 339, Spotsylvania VA 22553
Phone: 540-507-7680 Fax: 540-582-7288
Spotsylvania County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
Address: 9113 Courthouse Rd, PO Box 157, Spotsylvania VA 22553
Phone: 540-507-7676 Fax: 540-582-2029